As filmmaker and writer Nora Ephron said during a ’96 commencement address at Wellesley College, “Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead.” If that’s the case, high school may be one of the greatest dress rehearsals of all.

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It’s a place where students explore their interests, dive into extracurricular activities, finally get the freedom to choose their own classes, and prepare for college or the workplace. For many of these students and their families, public education is key: 48.1 million students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools in 2020; and there are almost 24,000 public high schools in the U.S., according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

For many anxious parents, getting their kid into the best of these public high schools is of the utmost importance. Some families even move homes to get into better school districts. However, among all of these thousands of schools, a few stand out for their academic excellence, incredible track records, and the future success of their young students.

Niche.com ranked the best high schools in Virginia. We’ve broken it down by public and private schools.


2022 Top 10 Best Public High Schools in Virginia

#10. Briar Woods High School (public)
– Location: Loudoun County
– Student Enrollment: 1,850 (14:1 student to teacher ratio)

#9. James Madison High School (public)
– Location: Fairfax County
– Student Enrollment: 2,289 (15:1 student to teacher ratio)

#8. Riverside High School (public)
– Location: Loudoun County
– Student Enrollment: 1,882 (14:1 student to teacher ratio)

#7. Oakton High School (public)
– Location: Fairfax County
– Student Enrollment: 2,743 (17:1 student to teacher ratio)

#6. W.T. Woodson High School (public)
– Location: Fairfax County
– Student Enrollment: 2,427 (15:1 student to teacher ratio)

#5. Chantilly High School (public)
– Location: Fairfax County
– Student Enrollment: 2,936 (16:1 student to teacher ratio)

#4. Langley High School (public)
– Location: Fairfax County
– Student Enrollment: 1,992 (18:1 student to teacher ratio)

#3. McLean High School (public)
– Location: Fairfax County
– Student Enrollment: 2,369 (17:1 student to teacher ratio)

#2. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology (public)
– Location: Fairfax County
– Student Enrollment: 1,809 (18:1 student to teacher ratio)

#1. Maggie Walker Governor’s School (public)
– Location: Richmond
– Student Enrollment: 746 (15:1 student to teacher ratio)


2022 Top 10 Best Private High Schools in Virginia

#10. Randolph-Macon Academy (private)
– Location: Front Royal
– Student Enrollment: 292 (6:1 student to teacher ration)

#9. Flint High School (private)
– Location: Oakton
– Student Enrollment: 1,097 (6:1 student to teacher ratio)

#8. St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School (private)
– Location: Alexandria
– Student Enrollment: 1,183 (6:1 student to teacher enrollment)

#7. Norfolk Academy (private)
– Location: Norfolk
– Enrollment: 1,184 (8:1 student to teacher ratio)

#6. Pinnacle Academy (private)
– Location: Chantilly
– Enrollment: 159 (6:1 student to teacher ratio)

#5. Woodberry Forest School (private)
– Location: Woodberry Forest
– Enrollment: 406 (7:1 student to teacher ratio)

#4. BASIS Independent McLean (private)
– Location: Mclean
– Enrollment: 478 (7:1 student to teacher ratio)

#3. The Potomac School (private)
– Location: Mclean
– Enrollment: 1,060 (6:1 student to teacher ratio)

#2. Episcopal High School (private)
– Location: Alexandria
– Enrollment: 464 (5:1 student to teacher ratio)

#1. The Madeira School (private)
– Location: Mclean
– Enrollment: 324 (6:1 student to teacher ratio)